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The base of the CN Tower

Posted by
Damon Schreiber (Toronto, Canada) on 2 August 2007 in Cityscape & Urban and Portfolio.

Sakamoto/Schreiber - Toronto 1977-2007 series starts here.

Continued from yesterday

This spring, I bought a new camera - that Pentax K10D that I'd read so much about, and with it a 17-70mm lens that would give me a 25-105mm equivalent angle of view in 35mm terms (Technical point: like many DSLR cameras, the Pentax uses a 1.5 crop APS-C sensor. That means that it's smaller than a frame of 35mm film to the degree that any given lens focal length (e.g. 19mm) would be multiplied by 1.5 to get the equivalent length if it had been used on a 35mm camera. Thus, that 19mm lens used on an APS-C camera will give you an image roughly identical in terms of field of view to that of a 28mm lens used on a 35mm camera.)

I had guessed that since the original photos were apparently wider than if they had been taken using a 35mm lens, but they weren't fish-eye photos by any means, they were probably taken using a 28mm lens - that being the most common wide angle focal length used during the 1970s. Luckily zoom lenses weren't nearly as common then as now so the focal length seemed consistent at least.

Continued tomorrow.

Note: I forgot the watermark on this one. I'll add it when I get a chance. So much has changed here. The CN tower (undoubtedly the defining feature of Toronto's skyline) was newly built in 1977. Cheap people like me sometimes go to the base and look up rather than paying the ridiculous fee to actually get to the top. But the view is fantastic. You'll note that the angle of view isn't quite the same in the two photos. I probably would have been able to improve it if I'd gone back a few times, but it's kind of out of the way for me compared to the other downtown locations, so I decided that this one is 'good enough'. Too much perfectionism can doom a project.

One thing obviously missing in the modern photo is the real star of the 1977 version: the statue. When I saw the original photo I thought it rang a bell and I wasn't sure if it was from memories of visiting the base of the tower in the past. But it turns out I often pass it on my way to work. Since 1994, the statue Universal Man (which was originally commissioned for CN by the artist Gerald Gladstone) has been situated in the parking lot of the Yorkdale Mall. Here's a recent picture I took. I feel kind of sad seeing it there so out of place in that shopper's mecca. In front of the CN tower, it seemed to show a kind of yearning for knowledge and greatness, giving meaning to its name. In front of the shopping centre, it just looks grotesque and filled with desparate rage, like Goya's Saturn.

Top image copyright Shige Sakamoto - 坂本政恵

High-res here (my image) and here (1977 image). The entire 1977 series can be viewed in context starting here.

[Front & Blue Jay Way, Toronto]